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AirTalk’s FilmWeek 2020 Oscar Preview

Larry Mantle and the critics at the Oscars preview event at the Theatre at Ace Hotel.
Larry Mantle and the critics at the Oscars preview event at the Theatre at Ace Hotel.
Julia Murray

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A live audience joined us on Sunday, February 2, one week before the 92nd Academy Awards, as KPCC In Person convened AirTalk’s FilmWeek critics for its 18th annual Oscar preview event.

This year, host Larry Mantle and the critics return to the stage of the historic Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

This year, director Todd Phillips’ troubling drama “Joker” about the smiley Batman villain leads the way with 11 total nominations, including best picture and best director as well as a best actor nomination for the film’s lead, Joaquin Phoenix. Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood,” Martin Scorsese’s mobster drama “The Irishman,” and Sam Mendes’s World War I drama “1917” scored 10 nominations each. Actress Scarlett Johansson earned two separate nominations, a best actress nod for her lead role in Noah Baumbach’s semi-autobiographical drama “Marriage Story,” also up for best picture, and for her supporting role in Taika Waititi’s comedic World War II drama “Jojo Rabbit,” another best picture nominee. Meanwhile, the critically acclaimed Korean family drama “Parasite” continued its run of success with six total nominations, including best picture, best international feature, and a best director nod for Bong Joon Ho. In the realm of animated films, Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” Dreamworks’ “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” and Annapurna’s “Missing Link” lead the field of nominees. You can see the full list of nominees here.

Built in 1927 by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and D.W. Griffith, the Theatre at Ace Hotel was originally known as the United Artists Theatre. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Fairbanks said he hoped the theater would always be a reminder that Los Angeles is the center of production of the film industry. More than 90 years later, on the very same stage, Larry and the critics will discuss and debate this year’s contenders for the major Oscar categories.


Justin Chang, film critic for KPCC and the Los Angeles Times; he tweets @JustinCChang

Christy Lemire, film critic for KPCC, and co-host of the ‘Breakfast All Day’ podcast; she tweets @christylemire

Amy Nicholson, film critic for KPCC, film writer for The Guardian and host of the podcasts ‘Unspooled’ and the podcast miniseries “Zoom”; she tweets @TheAmyNicholson

Charles Solomon, film critic for KPCC, Animation Scoop and Animation Magazine

Claudia Puig, film critic for KPCC and president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA); she tweets @ClaudiaPuig

Lael Loewenstein, KPCC film critic; she tweets @LAELLO

Peter Rainer, film critic for KPCC and the Christian Science Monitor

Tim Cogshell, film critic for KPCC, Alt-Film Guide and; he tweets @CinemaInMind

Wade Major, film critic for KPCC and